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The herb gardens at American Botanical Council’s Case Mill Homestead expanded this past year with a new Systems Garden, a Phytocosmetic Garden, and a First Aid Garden. Since ABC moved to the Case Mill Homestead in 1998, 15 theme gardens have been installed and more are planned with the intention of becoming one of the nation’s premier herbal medicine gardens. Garden tours are scheduled on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, and by appointment.

As a part of ABC’s ongoing education commitment, these demonstration gardens show the beauty of beneficial plants. A list of proposed plants is peer reviewed for appropriateness to each themed garden.

The Systems Garden, placed in the front yard of ABC’s office, contains seven sections for different human body systems: cardiovascular, excretory, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, digestive, nervous, and the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Each section is planted with species used historically or currently to benefit these systems.

The Phytocosmetic Garden — plants historically known or clinically proven to be beneficial to skin and hair care — surrounds a chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus).

The First Aid Garden has plants known to staunch bleeding cuts, soothe burns, or take the itch out of insect bites and other skin irritations. “We placed this garden just outside the kitchen door, in case these plants are needed in a hurry,” says Lisa LaRousse, ABC’s garden coordinator.

Every garden is the result of joint effort and expertise. Several outstanding volunteers and interns worked side by side with staff horticulturists LaRousse and Rachel Hagan.  Donors to ABC gardens over the past year include a chipper/shredder from J.J. Jennings of Austin, Texas; compost from Natural Gardener in Oak Hill, Texas; seeds from Horizon Herbs of Williams, Oregon; plants from Misty Hill Farm of Dale, Texas; garden supplies from Colleen Ostlund of Boulder, Colorado, and support for replacement plants from the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society (GFWHS).

As Ann McCormick of the GFWHS said in making their gift, “Demonstration herb gardens are the most effective teaching tool available to herb enthusiasts. We are delighted to contribute to the maintenance and development of the ABC gardens.”  

  Karen Robin, ABC